Priests for Life announced in a press conference today that it is kicking off a Freedom Ride campaign to help raise awareness about abortion and other acts that "destroy" human life.
The ride is based on a movement that began in 1961 when 13 individuals boarded a bus headed from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans. The group set out to test the enforcement of a 1960 Supreme Court decision that outlawed racial segregation in restaurants and waiting areas of bus terminals.
"In those days we were fighting for the civil rights of people being persecuted ... because of their skin color," said Alveda King, niece of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life.
"Today, in the 21st century, the battle still rages," she added. "And yet another precious class of human beings is now suffering discrimination due to their age and place of residence. They are temporarily housed in the wombs of their mothers, and the threat to them is abortion."
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said the civil rights movement and the pro-life movement are one endeavor. "It is the movement that stands up every time human life and dignity are cast down," he said. "It is the movement that cries out for equal protection when some are denied their most basic rights."
An awareness campaign will run up to a national Pro-life Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Ala., to Atlanta July 23-25.
Riders will attend a concert and rally July 23 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center and then board the bus bound for Atlanta. Dozens of rides may be scheduled across the country over the next year.
King says the effort will address more than abortion. "We want to draw attention to abortion, euthanasia, anything that would rob someone of human life," King told Charisma.
The Freedom Ride campaign has support from African-American pro-life advocates including the Rev. Sam Mosteller, Georgia State President for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Catherine Davis, director of minority outreach for Georgia Right to Life, which helped sponsor a billboard campaign around Atlanta that proclaim, "Black children are an endangered species."
"For centuries, people have valiantly fought for freedom," King said. "The issues change, but the goal remains the same-freedom for all to live abundant lives."
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